Pope Francis: Pilgrimage is an eloquent expression of trust in God.

On 17 November 2023 Pope Francis directed a warm address to pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Ozamiz (Philippines):

It is important to keep in mind, however, that a pilgrimage is not like a vacation. In fact, making a pilgrimage to shrines is an eloquent expression of trust in God. Pilgrims carry in their hearts their faith, history, joys, anxieties, hopes and particular prayers.

Here, I am thinking of the biblical story of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. She went to the shrine of Shiloh in sadness, yet at the same time with humble confidence, to ask God for the gift of a son. There, the Lord heard her prayer and granted her desire (cf. 1 Sam 1:12-17). At shrines, we meet the tender love of the Father who has mercy on all. And that mercy is so often made known to us through our Blessed Mother, Mary, who teaches us how to welcome God into our lives and who, precisely because she is a mother, knows how to place our needs before Jesus, just as she did for the newly-married couple at Cana (cf. Jn 2:3-5). I like that Mary’s gesture, one that portrays her as she is, is to point to Jesus. At Cana, what did she say? “Do whatever he tells you”. Mary never points to herself; Mary points to the Lord, she always points to the Lord. It is a mother’s gesture, and a generous one, because she never wanted to put herself in the centre, but always the Lord.